Afghanistan declares day of mourning

Indo Asian News Service

Kabul, April 23 (IANS) Afghanistan on Sunday declared a day of national mourning for the 138 soldiers killed in a Taliban attack in what was one of the most deadly strikes against the country's armed forces.

The attack on a base in Balkh province was perpetrated by 10 insurgents dressed in army uniforms on Friday. Two of them blew themselves up while the rest died fighting, Efe news reported.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said that each soldier who died was a hero.

He recalled his visit on Saturday to Balkh to meet the 67 soldiers wounded in the incident.

Ghani said Afghanistan was going through a critical phase and claimed that what was happening was not an internal matter but an international campaign by terrorist groups to destabilize the country.

He urged the Taliban to pursue dialogue instead of killing people.

According to US data, between January and November last year, at least 6,785 members of the Afghan security forces were killed and 11,777 injured.